Sunscreen is a vital component of skin protection in the prevention of skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, physicians diagnose more Americans with skin cancer each year than all other cancers combined. The Skin Cancer Foundation goes on to report that 20% of Americans will contract skin cancer by the time they reach their seventies. Studies show that sunscreen use can decrease the risk of skin cancer by 50% or more. However, additional studies suggest that topical sunscreens may be absorbed into the bloodstream, prompting questions about sunscreen safety. Read on for facts about sunscreen, its benefits, and its possible risks.
9. Sunscreen History
The ancient Egyptians prized lighter skin tones over the darker hues of sun-darkened skin. Therefore, they would use natural ingredients such as rice bran to block the rays of the sun. Contemporary forms of sunscreen weren’t invented until the mid-1900s. It was in 1978 that the United States FDA determined that sunscreens should be regulated to make sure they were safe and provided skin protection. The 1980s brought the realization that skin cancer is triggered by both harmful UVB and UVA rays from the sun. In the 1990s, the FDA allowed products containing avobenzone to be marketed as protection against UVA rays.
8. Mineral Sunblock Agents
Sunblocks composed of minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide form a physical barrier on the skin that prevents harmful rays from penetrating. While these substances are safe, natural, and effective, they form a conspicuous and thick white paste. Many individuals would prefer to spend time in the sun without sporting a glaring white substance on their face or body. Furthermore, testing by Consumer Reports suggests that “all natural” sunblocks containing only mineral ingredients are not as consistently effective as chemical-based sunscreen products.